About

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas at UNAM, having completed a PhD at the University of Michigan in 2016. In the near future, I will join the philosophy department at the University of Southampton as a Marie Curie fellow to research the ethics of artworks and the metaphysics of value.

I grew up both on England’s South Coast and in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Later, I studied philosophy at the University of Sheffield and returned there to complete an MA following a year teaching English in Valencia, Spain.

Nils and Katharina
With my daughter, Katharina (photo Prof. Sarah Buss)

My research is principally in the fields of aesthetics, ethics, and feminist philosophy. My dissertation ‘Problems to Appreciate: Aesthetics, Ethics, and the Imagination’, was supervised by Kendall Walton, Sarah Buss, Daniel Jacobson, and Gregg Crane. It consists of three papers that address some aspect of appreciation. One paper articulates a new paradox concerning what I call the “Merit Principle” when applied to a class of artworks I call “seductive” works. Another examines the so-called Puzzle of Imaginative Resistancewhy it is that appreciators cannot imagine, and authors cannot make fictionally true, certain propositions in literary fictions (published in Phil Imprint). The third paper asks whether appreciating sport resembles appreciating works of fictionin particular, whether our investment in the outcomes of sport should be understood on the model of our caring about fictional events and characters (forthcoming in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism). I’m also interested in “meta” questions in value theory, the philosophies of mind and sport, issues of social justice, and much besides.

Discussing philosophy.
Planning the ground invasion of Comparative Literature with my generals (photo Andy Standen)

Some of my other work has been cited widely, including by a report produced for the British Board of Film Classification. I have presented work at several venues, including the Universities of Lund, Southampton, Oxford, Murcia, Cambridge, and Columbia, as well as at meetings of the American Society for Aesthetics, the British Society of Aesthetics, and the American Philosophical Association. I have also written occasionally for the British Journal of Photography.

Outside of academia proper, I run a blog applying critical thinking to pop culture and current events, produce graphic designs, play football (the kind that involves one’s feet rather than one’s hands, naturally), and spend time with the family: my wife, Fown and my kids, Katharina and Kaspar. I also have two dogs named Beverly and Matilda who are as cute as they sound, possibly cuter.

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Kaspar and Katharina

As for pronouncing my name, it rhymes with ‘thrills Venice’, which seems a laudable ambition.